Marketers and brands know that creating high-quality, engaging, and relevant content for their target market enhances their SEO and marketing efforts. Video content in particular, is one of the most effective formats for increasing engagement and conversions, educating customers, building trust, boosting ROI, and generating leads.
Short videos are easy to digest, appeal to visual learners, and help companies connect on a deeper level with their target audience.
The stats have it
We’re all watching more video than ever. Research from 2020 showed that on average, viewers spent nearly eight hours weekly watching various types of content. That’s up 16% over the previous year - and savvy marketers are responding.
A survey of marketers by Lemonlight included the findings that that 76% had invested in video production over the last three years, and 98% believed video would continue to play a vital role in the future.
Image Source: Lemonlight
So if you’re not yet using video to enhance your blog, website, email, and social media content, it’s time to join your competitors who are. It's never too late to start!
Read on for the tips and tools that will help you implement your own video marketing strategy.
Best practices for using video in your content marketing
1. What are your goals?
Before embarking on or improving a strategic initiative, you must understand what you want to accomplish.
Without a strong understanding of your goals, you’re likely to waste time and money. Below are some common goals of video marketing.
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Building brand awareness
- Visually describing the features and benefits of a product or service
- Training customers on how to use your product or service
- Keeping visitors on your website longer
Identify which of these, or other goals, are your priorities. This will shape the content you produce
Here's an example of a short video highlight of a longer event, where the goal is to drive memberships to a Mastermind community.
Notice that the CTA is at the end of the video. The first step is to define your goals and create your strategy.
2. Identify and understand your target market
Who is your target audience? Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine who you are trying to reach:
- How old is your target audience?
- What are the platforms where they consume online video?
- Where do they live and work?
- What are your target audience's problems and their pain points?
- How do your offerings solve their problems or make their lives easier?
Creating buyer personas is an effective technique used by many companies to identify and segment their audience in order to create effective marketing.
You should keep up with your audience’s concerns, in order to shape your offerings accordingly. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Monitor social media for topics and hashtags in your niche
- Join relevant forums to tap into the concerns and values of your audience
- Keep tabs on recurring support queries
- Use a keyword tool like Wordtracker to identify questions searched in your niche
Without having a tight match between your message and your customers' needs, your marketing will not be as effective as it should be.
3. Grab your viewers’ attention quickly
Remember that people are inundated with massive amounts of content, including video. You only have about 3 seconds to grab an audience's attention. Use that time wisely.
Many people will use motion graphics, more commonly known as animations, because they are flashier than most other types of video.
But graphic designers warn that it’s easy to go overboard, so check out these animation tips before you start adding them to your video.
Choose a title, thumbnail, and graphics that will immediately draw the viewer's attention to make them want to watch the rest of your video and learn more.
If you’re having trouble coming up with a catchy and relevant video title, don't worry. There are many free tools available to help you. Free YouTube video title generators include: Social Video Plaza, Tune Pocket and Weshare.
Need a free tool to create a captivating video thumbnail? Try Canva's free thumbnail templates. There are also premium templates available, and Canva offers a free 30-day trial.
Don't start your videos with advertising or long animations. Use only short animations at the beginning or after a brief introduction.
The call to action (CTA) belongs at the end of the video, not at the beginning. You want to hook the viewer before you make an offer.
4. Tell an engaging story
Storytelling is an effective way to communicate your message. Try to elicit an emotion from people who are viewing your video.
Under Armour, a sportswear brand is well-known for creative and innovative ad campaigns using celebrities and athletes to promote their brand.
The video below uses an influencer, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, to spread a motivational message that determination and hard work enables people to reach their goals. Notice how the video doesn't mention the brand name until the end.
Research what your target audience cares about, wants, or needs. Use it to create a short story to better connect with them.
5. Don't rely on audio
Keep in mind that many social media platforms - Facebook, for example - play videos with the sound muted by default, so people can watch videos on the go and in public places.
Lumen5 offers a free plan which allows you to make unlimited videos, but to remove the watermark you need to upgrade to one of their paid options.
You can also use a free tool, such as CreatorKit, to add captions to your videos.
Use videos that convey your message even when muted. You can do this by adding subtitles or creative animations. In talking head videos, the presenter’s expressions will also help tell the story.
6. Decide where to share your videos
The more places you share your videos, the more likely viewers will see them. And there is no reason not to use as many online video platforms as possible, such as:
- Tik Tok
In general, think about where the video will reach your audience most effectively. Choose the platform that allows you to create a video that aligns with your goals.
For those just starting out using video, start by sharing video content on the channels where you already have a solid presence and a good following.
Don’t forget to embed videos on your website and in blog posts. If you don’t currently run a blog, you should consider starting one.
Starting a blog will:
- Boost website SEO
- Help convert visitors into leads
- Drive traffic to your website
- Provide content that can easily be turned into video format
Be sure to create videos in the best format for each platform you use.
7. Decide which types of videos to create
There are numerous types of videos you can create to convey your message to your target audience, including:
- How-to tutorial / educational
- Client testimonials
- Social media
- Event videos
- Expert interviews
The type of video you choose to create will depend upon your goals, the platforms where you intend to post them, and the story you want to tell.
Some videos serve more than one of these functions. For example, this video, which Nextiva embeds on their blog post “Contact Center vs. Call Center: Which Does My Business Need?”, is an educational explainer video.
It answers a commonly asked question and also explains which of their solutions would best suit the visitor’s business.
Ask your sales and support staff what questions they get asked most often. Then develop a video to answer each question.
Embed the video in your own targeted content. And, journalists and writers may organically choose to use your video in their relevant content, raising your brand awareness and helping your SEO.
8. Don't be too salesy
If you focus too much on what you're selling, instead of how your offerings are solutions to your target market's problems, you will lose your audience.
Consumers don't want to hear a sales pitch and will tune you out. However, if your video explains how to make their lives easier, they are more likely to hang around and find out.
Videos can also be used to position and reinforce your brand image. Some videos are so hilarious they go viral, such as the one below. It stands out also because it goes against the normal staid image of banks.
9. Keep it short and simple
If you provide too much information in your videos, you’ll lose your audience's attention. It’s much better to communicate a few simple, memorable ideas clearly.
Adding humor to your short videos means they will not only be remembered, they are also more likely to be shared.
My favorite example of engaging, humorous videos is Squatty Potty. The brand illustrates how to grab a viewer’s attention quickly.
Granted, their product line - "Pooping will never be the same" - lends itself to using comical and outrageous images and video content.
This video was created five years ago, but it is still remembered and shared today.
Free and low-cost video creation tools
Video creation used to be limited to large brands with the resources to hire a scriptwriter, actors, camera crews, and professional editing.
Modern tech now enables businesses with smaller budgets to create video content that can look just as good as their more expensive counterparts. If you have a smartphone, you’re carrying around a high-quality video camera in your pocket.
In addition, live video is only one of the many options available. Animated and whiteboard videos are helpful when creating video content, especially for explainer videos. You can also create animated videos using PowerPoint alone.
Here are some of the best free or low-cost video creation programs, editors, and caption creator tools.
Biteable is a simple drag-and-drop interface that helps you quickly create videos or animations. They offer a selection of customizable templates you can use for a large variety of video content types.
Biteable has a free plan with unlimited downloads, and paid plans starting at $49 monthly.
Promo enables you to create videos quickly and offers access to stock images, high-quality professional video clips, video templates, and royalty-free music.
You can start from scratch or choose from a customizable template, including templates specifically created for Facebook, Instagram and YouTube
You can test it out and use a free account to create up to five drafts. If you want to download your video, you will need to upgrade. Premium-priced plans start at $39 per month.
Another tool with an intuitive drag-and-drop video creator is Animoto.
Start by selecting a storyboard template, add images, videos, special effects, stickers, overlays, and music.
You can create standard quality videos for free, including unlimited downloads and limited music tracks, color options, and fonts. Premium plans start at $8 per month.
Create high-quality videos with the all-in-one branding platform at Renderforest.
Choose from numerous video templates in various categories, including intros, outros, promotional, and explainer videos.
There is a free version that is free forever. If you want to upgrade to a paid version, prices range from $6.99/month to $49.99/month.
Creating, producing, and sharing videos provides value to your target audience. Engaging and informative video content will evoke interest in your company's products and services.
It’s a powerful medium to build relationships with current customers, reach new prospects, and improve communications with clients.
All startups to enterprise brands need to include video in their content management initiatives. And, with the free and affordable tools, apps, and software now available, there's no excuse not to include video marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy.